This short movie by Danish animator Thallis Vestergaard traces the history of the bicycle from its invention in the eighteenth century up to the present day (+ movie).
Produced by Visual Artwork, a studio based in Denmark, Evolution of the Bicycle is a brief look at the different variations the two-wheeler has gone through in its 200-year history. It highlights how the design of the bike changed through the innovations and whims of different inventors.
The sequence starts in 1790 with the Velocifere by Frenchman Comte Mede de Sivrac. His invention featured two wheels, a piece of wood and a horse saddle, and is said to be the first instance of a bicycle, but had no steering.
Sivrac's creation was improved upon by English inventor Denis Johnson, whose Dandy Horse, unveiled in 1818, attached a steering bar, increased the size of the wheels and made the bike lighter than Sivrac's.
In 1839, Kirkpatrick MacMillan, a Scottish blacksmith inspired by steam locomotives, created the world's first pedal powered rear-wheel driven bicycle.
Then in 1869, Frenchman Eugene Meyer created the Penny-Farthing, whose name was a reference to the oversized front wheel and disproportionately small rear one. He is also credited as the inventor of the wire-spoke tension wheel which is still used today.
Designers continued to play with the idea of different sized wheels, including G.W. Pressey's American Star bicycle. This version swapped the large front and small wheel round, making it easier to steer.
It wasn't until 1885 that the public first saw what would become the standard shape for a bike. J.K. Starley's Rover Safety Bicycle featured two identically sized wheels, a saddle perched between them, and peddles attached to a crank, which drove a chain to turn the back wheel.
The design was refined by C.D. Rice before the development of the racing handle bars and simple saddle attachment we know today, which feature in the final evolution of the animated bike before it cycles away.
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